Thursday, April 5, 2012

REPOST: In Praise of Oxala and Other Gods - Black Music of South America (Nonesuch, 1960s)

One must tread carefully when delving into ethnic, international, or world music - whatever you want to call it.  A lot of it just sounds like stuff intended for the ears of tourists. nevertheless, every now and then, a record collector strikes gold and finds something as mind-blowing as the trippiest psych LP. Elektra subsidiary Nonesuch Records' Explorer Series consistently delivers the goods with field recordings made in the furthest reaches of the planet. In Praise of Oxala and Other Gods documents the music of African-South American groups in Colombia.  Ecuador, and Brazil. The lyrics are in Spanish or Portuguese but the music retains a very strong African influence in the chanting and rhythms. This is real voodoo or Santeria music and, as the title indicates, serves as praise songs for the tribal gods of the musicians' ancestors who were worshiped in the guise of Christian saints.

Addendum:  I don't think that I listened to In Praise of Oxala since around the time of the original post way back on January 27, 2009.  While working on a new vinyl rip, the music quickly reminded me why it deserved to be in my initial batch of reviews.  These performances feature irresistible, driving rhythms and may very well represent the sound of the earliest African diaspora music in the Americas.  I acquired this album from a private dealer who I first met in 2004 at the now sadly discontinued record shows at the VFW Hall in the Chicago suburb of Summit.  Although my earliest dealings with him were worthwhile, his supply of quality LPs quickly dried up, and he made matters worse by calling me all the time to rave about recent acquisitions in which he knew that I would have no interest.  I finally just had to tell him to fuck off to stop him from bugging me with his excessive junk peddling.  Anyway, at least this album can enjoy a prominent place in my collection in exchange for my troubles.


1. Arrullo San Antonio
2. Los Cholitos
3. Oigame Juanita
4. Capoeira
5. Samba da Roda
6. Candomble
7. A Adorar a Antonio
8. Salome
9. Me Voy a Belen
10. Voy a Bando
11. Currulao Cantado


  1. more info...

  2. super fucking cool!!!! thanks so much!

  3. Thank you for yet another interesting and rare recording!

  4. One can't go too far wrong with the old OOP Nonesuch LPs. I grew up on those.

  5. I scored a bunch of these Nonesuch Explorer LPs in near mint condition for 50 cents a piece recently, and was planning on posting a bunch of them over at my blog - this one included, of course. I found your bog looking for info on the beguiling Buck Black album I am going to post in the next day or so, then saw this post and found that my internaut friend Holly has left you a comment. Hi Holly!

    Another great Explorer release that doesn't quite fit the mold (being the work of a single artist already established in their own genre as opposed to an ethnographic recording or compilation) was Hamza El Din's "Escalay: The Water Wheel", which is just flippin gorgeous. Also, 50-cents...

  6. many, many thanks for this one and all the other amazing music you post!!

  7. Thanks much! Anyway it can be posted in 320 mp3 ?

    1. No. There are plenty of free audio file converters out there that you can use to change FLACs to MP3s.